España to Las Piñas, ‘Aric Magic’ to… ‘Lester Magic’?
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 22, 2015 10:07 PM
YOU ALREADY KNOW ARIC DEL ROSARIO. Just like Perpetual is here to stay as a contender, the del Rosarios are set to stay as the guiding force in Las Pinas.
Just three years ago, University of Perpetual Help was a non-entity in the NCAA. Then school founder Antonio Tamayo phoned an old friend and what do you know, magic happened.
The legendary Aric del Rosario, he of the four-peat championships with University of Sto. Tomas back in the early ‘90s, took his tough love to Las Piñas and immediately brought the Altas into the Final Four in only his first year. Since then, Perpetual has remained a playoff fixture and has tallied double-digit wins each season.
Still, del Rosario said he still needs one thing to happen to complete his final act of “Aric Magic”: a championship that will become the Las Piñas-based school’s first ever. “Makaisa lang ako rito, masaya na ako. Bago ako huminto na, mabigyan ko maski isang title lang (ang Perpetual),” he told ABS-CBN Sports.
Asked if there was any fixed date for his resignation, the 75-years-young mentor said he still decided, but his team’s first ever championship remains as his indicator. Once he does finally decide to call it a day, del Rosario re-assured the Perpetual community that he will pass on his robe and wand into familiar and capable hands.
“Ang gusto ko na nga mangyari, kinakausap ko na yung kumpare ko (Perpetual founder Tamayo) na baka pwede na si Lester,” he said. Lester is Aric’s former player at UST, current deputy at Perpetual, and most importantly, son.
Talking about the impending succession, Lester told ABS-CBN Sports in a later interview, “Papunta na rin dun, ano?”
Hearing the younger del Rosario talk about his coaching philosophy, however, one could mistake him for his father with quips like this: “Lagi kong sinasabi sa players namin, hindi pwedeng pa-easy-easy sa practice. Hindi kami papayag na kuntento ka lang.”
Or this: “Kapag nagko-coach kami, hindi rin pwedeng relaxed e. Sa practice, wag kang magulat na may lumilipad na bola o ball rack.”
And doesn’t this perfectly explain “Aric Magic?” Asked what they have done to bring success to Las Piñas, Lester replied, “Since nasa UST hanggang ngayon, sigaw at galit para ma-challenge yung players.”
Nonetheless, the younger del Rosario believes that his father will never act retired even if he already did. “Hindi mawawala yung passion niya for basketball. Kahit sabihin niyang magre-retire, hindi ako naniniwala. Nandun pa rin yan palagi,” he shared.
Perhaps resignation will not even be an option for Aric as he shared, “Binibiro ako (ni Perpetual founder Tamayo), gusto ko dyan ka palagi. Kung ‘di ka na makalakad at makasigaw, bibilhan kita ng wheelchair at sound system.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.